What are the warning signs that my teenager is having serious problems dealing with grief?


Teenagers can be particularly affected when a school friend or family member dies because their grief can become complicated by the usual ups and downs of adolescence. Their need to appear ‘grown up’ in front of their peers, or their family, can result in isolation and difficulty in asking for help or expressing feelings.

Teenagers experiencing grief and loss may show one or more of these signs:

  • An extended period of depression where the teen loses interest in daily activities and events
  • They cannot sleep or lose their appetite
  • They have a fear of being alone
  • They act much younger than their age for an extended period
  • They excessively imitate the dead person
  • They say often that they want to join the dead person
  • They withdraw from friends
  • Their school performance drops or they refuse to attend school
  • A lack of concentration
  • They are over-active or act too busy
  • Drug and/or alcohol use
  • Risk-taking behaviour
  • Promiscuity
  • Self-destructive, antisocial, or criminal behaviour
  • Suicidal thoughts

If these signs are obvious then it may be a good idea to seek professional help.

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